Climate change ‘defining issue of our time’: UN chief

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Swedish Maj.General named to head UN observer force in India and Pakistan

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 7 (APP): United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today told top government officials that the opportunity exists “to define our own destiny” at
the UN climate change conference (COP21) in Paris.
“In rising to the climate challenge, we can set the world on a sustainable footing for generations to come, and lay the foundation for prosperity and security for all,” he said one
week into COP21, which kicked off at the Paris-Le Bourget site last Monday in the north-east of the French capital. Today, the second week of negotiations begins, with the aim
of reaching a new universal climate agreement to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius. “A week ago, 150 world leaders stood here and pledged their full support for a robust global climate agreement that is equal to the test we face,” the secretary-general recalled. “Never before have so many Heads of State and Government gathered
in one place at one time with one common purpose.”
The UN chief underlined that leaders have assured him they will work to remove any roadblocks. “They have called for strong ambition and re-affirmed their support for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening resilience to changes to come,” he stressed, calling on leaders to translate “this historic call for action into a durable, dynamic, credible and fair climate agreement.” Noting that outside the negotiating halls there is a
“rising global tide for a strong, universal agreement,” he voiced what the people of the world expect from those working towards its achievement. “First, we need an agreement that will limit temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius. For many, including low-lying
and least developed countries, even a 1.5 degree rise will have grave consequences,” he insisted. “Second, the private sector needs a clear signal that the low-emissions transformation of the global economy is inevitable, beneficial and already under way.
Third, developed countries must
agree to lead, and developing countries need to
assume increasing responsibility in line with their
capabilities.
Fourth, the agreement must ensure
sufficient, balanced adaptation and mitigation support
for developing countries, especially the poorest and
most vulnerable.”
Finally, he said the agreement must provide a single
framework for measuring, monitoring and reporting progress in
a transparent manner.
“The decisions you make here will reverberate down through
the ages,” he declared.
The Secretary-General also recounted a conversation he had with
a young Norwegian explorer yesterday, named Erika. While visiting
the Tara research vessel currently banked on the Seine, she told
him: “We are the future. Your decisions today will be our future.”